UPDATE 2-China CNOOC refinery shuts aromatics unit after fire -sources

Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:58am GMT
 

* 800,000 tpy aromatics unit hit by fire -sources

* Fire put out, "other facilities" reduce opeations -company

* Crude unit operating normal for now -source (Adds company confirmation of fire under control)

BEIJING, July 11 (Reuters) - China National Offshore Oil Company's Huizhou refinery has shut its 800,000 tonne-per-year aromatics unit after a fire broke out early on Monday morning, two industry sources said.

One source said the refinery's crude refining unit was operating at normal rates later in the day. The plant, in southern Guangdong province, owned by the parent of CNOOC Ltd , has a crude refining capacity of 240,000 barrels per day.

"The fire has been brought under control," said a second source with direct knowledge of the plant's operations, adding that the fire was due to a leak at a pump.

An explosion in a CNOOC refinery in Huizhou, near Daya Bay in China's Guangdong province, occurred at 4.30 am, and residents said two explosions were heard, Cable TV reported, adding that residents there had been evacuated.

In an emailed statement, CNOOC said the fire had been put out by 9:00 am (GMT 0100) and there were no casualties.

"By 14:15 the smog was basically dissipated while other facilities continue to operate below capacity," the company said in the statement, without specifying the facilities.

An aromatics facility normally processes natural gas condensate or naphtha to make petrochemicals such as benzene and paraxylene.

It was not immediately clear how long the aromatics unit will remain closed. But traders said the refiner may need to market excess naphtha if the plant is to maintain normal operations. (Reporting by Chen Aizhu in Beijing, Donny Kwok in Hong Kong; Editing by Ken Wills)

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